We left port about 6:15 pm for an evening sunset sail, hoping to make it to the gate before sundown and back to home port before dark.
Winds had been strong all afternoon, much stronger than on Saturday, but as we left port, they were beginning to calm a bit.
As we prepared to raise sails, we noticed neighbor boat GO DOG GO approaching the marina under full canvas.
We raised a single reefed main and headed out toward the central bay as GO DOG GO was dousing sails and heading into the marina.
We pulled out a small jib and headed west against the strong flood current, and soon this lovely sailboat passed to starboard, heading east and looking good!
PRIVATEER, the charter ketch out of pier 39, passed in front of us, heading home.
After sailing westward for a while, we tacked and headed toward the lee of pier 45 with the strong flood current resisting us, and we noted that the flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering moderately.
On this tack, we didn't make it past the west marina and had to tack to the west again for a while before tacking again into the lee of pier 45 and then tacking away to the west again with the city behind us enjoying the evening sunshine with not too much haze.
As we sailed past the weather side of Alcatraz, we spotted this lovely Beneteau way to the north of us, heading toward Tiburon.
Three sailboats were sailing down the shore of Angel Island as we continued westward and being pushed northward by the flood current.
After sailing past Harding Rock and the little Harding Rock buoys, we tacked to the south to begin beating toward the gate, this time pulling out the jib to full for more power in the softening evening winds.
A finger of fog was beginning to invade the bay and obscuring the top of the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Blobs of fog over the central bay were beginning to color up with sundown color as we continued beating toward the gate.
The sun dropped behind the massive fog bank over the Marin Headlands and our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT 2 was heading for the gate along the shore of the headlands.
She was ghosting along in the light winds as she passed Yellow Bluff.
Since sundown was nearing, we decided to give up on trying to reach the gate, and fell off to head for home port with a colorful sunset developing behind us on the fog blobs shed by the fog bank over the headlands.
Ahead of us, the city was enjoying the last sunrays but our view of the city was through a thin mist.
Fog fingers were continuing to invade the bay and spread over the gate and we could see a sailboat just entering the gate with red spinnaker flying.
As we continued sailing eastward toward home port with flood assist but softening winds, we spotted this other Ericson sailboat heading our way from the north, and eventually determined that it was Olivier on Corto Maltese, looking good with full canvas flying.
Behind us, a brilliant sunset was developing!
With her full canvas flying, Corto Maltese was soon catching up with us.
Here is a brief video of her sailing alongside of us.
Behind us, the sailboat flying the red spinnaker was also closing the distance between us.
Above us, the three-quarter moon that was producing the strong ebb current was brightening in the sky as sundown neared.
As we sailed past pier 39, a flock of pelicans flew past, low over the water, and the LOVELY MARTHA fishing boat was heading home with her load of tourists aboard.
Corto Maltese ducked behind us and was now sailing past the end of pier 39 off to our starboard side with the flags on the end of pier 39 fluttering in a breeze of about 10 knots.
We both sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and get ready for landing, and then motored around pier 35 and past the still-present PRINCESS MARINA megayacht to enter the marina, finally landing in our slip, playing the current just right to land nicely. A most pleasant evening sail, followed later in the evening by a nice dinner with Olivier at the La Pescatore restaurant on the corner of Northpoint and Mason streets.
We were eventually booted out of the restaurant as the last remaining patrons and headed back to the marina. I still had to prepare a picnic lunch for my monday hike on the Marin Headlands with my hiking buddy Keila, so quickly prepared a sandwich spread of tuna and cream cheese and chopped onion flavored with Worcestershire Sauce-- YUMMM!